Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (June 9, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #322,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #53 in Books > Computers & Technology > Games & Strategy Guides > Game Design #200 in Books > Education & Teaching > Schools & Teaching > Education Theory > Experimental Methods #234 in Books > Computers & Technology > Games & Strategy Guides > Game Programming
When I first heard about what Lee Sheldon was doing in his college course, by way of a viewing of Jesse Schell's DICE Convention talk (distributed by TED), I looked for more info. Using XP to grade? How would this work? My gut told me that it was worth investigating further, so I poked around...and discovered that this textbook was about to be published, a scant week from my investigation. TIMING!Having placed my order for a copy, I scoured TED for relevant talks (and found several), and began some cursory plans for my classroom.When the book arrived, I put all planning on hold and read it. It proved to be a quick read, in part, no doubt, because the author had been/is a writer (for TV shows, notably Star Trek: The Next Generation; and for some of the best computer games out there). He knew how to keep the info engaging. One small example: Instead of chapters, the book has levels.The Multiplayer Classroom offers a sturdy skeleton for a rethinking of your classroom content delivery. It shares the youthful history of using a gaming overlay in education step by step, as it evolved, and unashamedly allows for the criticisms of such restructuring to be voiced as well as the praises. (The latter easily overshadow the former.) The book explains the mechanisms games use to engage and entertain the player, and suggests how to use those same mechanisms to facilitate learning. And, it shares concrete examples from real-life applications.Now, I will tell you straight up: There is content in this book that feels like filler. There are several tentative case-studies, reports of initial experiments that teachers at various levels in various disciplines have attempted. Not all of these have solid, decisive conclusions to share.
Who'd have thought that Lee Sheldon, a scriptwriter for the likes of Quincy, M.E. and Simon & Simon, as well as a writer/producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Charlie's Angels (plus many more) would be writing a book about improving learning in a classroom through the use of games? Well, he did it, and as someone who's been using games for years to teach management concepts to managers, I'm impressed. Sheldon's book is easy to read and engaging, too (one would hope so, coming from a script-writer).The book is laid out in a well-structured format, and I immediately liked his first-person writing style. Books written for people anywhere near academe are often dry and lifeless. Not so, here. You'll feel like Sheldon is actually talking with you or even writing you a personal letter.Know this is not a book about VIDEO games ... it's about classroom games, so you need no video game experience to do this. In fact, Sheldon clearly states in the opening paragraphs that "if teachers have never played a video game in their lives, they can create a course as a multiplayer classroom." Given that most of today's young learners are well-versed in multi-player games online, what a great way to capture their attention and get them learning in real classrooms.I would describe this book as a sneak peak into Sheldon's own class or into his very-open diary on how to do classroom multiplayer games. You might even picture yourself as a mouse in the corner of his class, only with the benefit of opposable thumbs so you can write notes in the margins as you go.For those who want to see quotes and references to Piaget and a host of other education experts and how this all factors into their theories, Sheldon doesn't' disappoint ...